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Why Trump Can Safely Ignore Europe

Its Leaders Readily Condemn But Never Act

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. John MacDougall / Reuters

Europe has reacted swiftly and with great fury to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The problem is not simply that the Trump administration has undermined one of the signature achievements of European foreign policy but that his inherent volatility, his unpredictability, and most of all his lack of commitment to the transatlantic alliance mean that any act of U.S. disruption is now possible. Righteous indignation is the language of the day, and predictions about the death of the transatlantic alliance abound.

But laments and indignation do not add up to strategy. The real question is not whether Europeans are pissed off but whether they will do anything in response to Trump’s actions. The answer is most likely no.

A CALL TO ARMS—AGAIN

The U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian deal certainly feels like a critical

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